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Cojac Smith is new BAA prez

HeadlineCojac Smith is new BAA prez

Photo: Cojac Smith, newly elected president of the Belize Athletic Association

by Charles Gladden

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Apr. 8, 2024

Athlete Cojac Smith is the new president of the Belize Athletic Association (BAA) after he was able to secure more votes than his opponent, the organization’s current vice president, Jaheed Smith, in an election that was held on Saturday, April 6, at the Ned Pitts building in the Marion Jones Sports Complex.

Smith, born and raised on the Southside of Belize City, is a well-known track and field athlete who participated in the sport from the age of 11 years and later specialized in the shot-put event, winning several medals in shot-put competitions over the years.

Smith took a hiatus from the sport for an estimated 20 years and made a return when he competed in San Jose, Costa Rica at the Central American Athletics Championships, where he secured bronze in 2021, and nabbed gold at the National Athletics Championship held by the BAA in 2022.

In an interview with Amandala, Smith noted that the post of BAA president became vacant after the association’s former president, Deon Sutherland, had resigned from the post; and he and Jaheed Smith subsequently contended for the presidency at the Special General Assembly.

Previously, the BAA had its fair share of internal disputes which caused friction among its members. Smith mentioned that it’s all about building relationships.

“It’s just to build relationships,” he said. “Often we look at a situation and lose sight of what we want to do moving forward. We have to keep the main goal of developing track and field and working with personalities. We all have our shortcomings and all have little ways and mannerisms [that] other people might not like, but it is just to maintain the goal and the focus of developing track and field. If we do that and work together in a collective, we will do well,” Smith said.

An issue at the Marion Jones Sports Complex that has been highlighted by the national media is the poor condition of the running track that athletes have to train on daily.

“One of the things that we are looking into is to try to develop some kind of public-private partnership with the government along with the association, and whatever entity we can get, to fund at least the resurfacing of the track for the time being, and then looking into a larger facility that could have multiple sports at it,” Smith mentioned.

“… that is something, part of the long-term goal, but for the short term, we need to surface the track as quickly as possible. So, it’s to continue engaging with government and see how best we could move the needle, and moving it forward,” he added.

Smith holds a Master’s degree in Project Management, among other certifications.

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